Looking After The Fox

Andrew Biggs

Last week, as I looked out of the window, I saw a fox wandering around the garden. I have seen foxes in the garden before but they have been sleek with red bushy hair and usually at dusk. This one looked different, he was more grey, not at all bushy and quite thin. As he came closer to the window I saw that he had several sores on his body. This poor fox was rather sad looking.

I used the internet to discover that the fox is probably suffering from Sarcoptic Mange, a condition caused by Mites. In comparison to some of the pictures on the website of the National Fox Welfare Society this fox is not, so far, too badly affected, but the condition will get worse if not treated. And it is easily treated with medication. The trouble is that the fox would have to be caught in order to treat it with medication.

However I discovered that the NFWS offer a free treatment which is safe to put out in food for the fox because it does no harm to other animals or pets. It takes longer to work than the medication but seems to be effective over a few weeks. So I sent off for the free pack and was sent a small bottle of this homeopathic remedy. The idea is that you put a few drops in a honey sandwich each night. Foxes are attracted to sweet things, where cats and dogs are not, so this makes it more likely that the food will be eaten by the fox rather than our neighbour’s cats! So for several days now I have been putting this treated food out at the far end of the garden (our ‘wildlife garden’) and each morning the dish has been licked clean.

The problem is that it is very dark at that end of the garden at night and, even if I were to stay up all night to watch, I have no idea if it is ‘my’ fox - or any fox that is actually eating the food! So I am offering a treatment for the ills of a particular fox and have no idea if it will be taken up or not, or if the fox will get better or not. Also I am aware that some people see foxes as a pest, who dig up gardens, leave mess, kill chickens and spread disease. But actually most accusations levelled at them are not true and they are harmless and beautiful wild animals.

This situation though made me think that there is a parallel in what Jesus has done for us. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could truly enter God’s kingdom, the kingdom that Jesus declared to be upon us from the moment of his baptism. He has promised eternal life in that kingdom for all who put their trust in him and through his resurrection has demonstrated that death is not the end of our existence but a stage along the way.

And this offer is there for everyone, a gift of love from a God who loves us all, whether we are perfect Christians or utter sinners. Whether we deserve it or not. Whether we are friends of Jesus or enemies of his kingdom.

Jesus does not know who will take up this offer, accept the sacrifice he made on our behalf and choose to follow him into his kingdom because we have freedom to choose to follow him or not. But he rejoices each time he sees that someone has taken him into their lives and made a commitment to faith, evidence by their displaying the fruits of the spirit in their lives and the example of love that they set through living.

I have now sent off for a camera that I hope will help me to see the fox (or whoever) eating the food I put out. God of course has no need of a camera to see who follows his Son and who does not, he just knows!

As we approach again the time of year in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us consider the offer he has made and follow his example, to share the love of God with all people, whoever they are, this Christmas.

A very happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

Every blessing Andrew

And I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

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